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Coronavirus and Film/TV support

Dear all,

There's a lot of news on how to deal with coronavirus circulating. We want to alert you to some specific help for people in film/tv and cinema, particularly freelancers, or others on limited contract hours.

The Film and TV charity has an advice and support line that you can contact for advice, as well as support grants if you are experiencing significant financial difficulty.

Bectu have also written about how sick pay covers workers and what to do if you have any concerns.

Good wishes to everyone,

  • Thanks Cath, I was thinking of kicking off a thread on Covid-19 but was distrcted!

    Other issues I can see right now are that the FTSE100 has lost approaching 30% of value in the past month. That make investors look for safer havens than the stock market, or at least make film look less awful as a risk proposition by comparison. Of course it also means some investors will have lost 30% of their wealth and not be investing in anything.

    Shoots - everything is getting cancelled/postponed across many industries, maybe take this as a chance to get into animation or internal vfx scenes for projects?!

    Pretty much every person worldwide will be affected and lose someone they know to this. What kind of films will we want/need afterwards? Will people want horror films, or maybe different themes. After WW2, stories of real-life heroes were big - that could be an opportunity for UK filmmakers if they find good candidates. Superheroes aren't coming to rescue us, so perhaps real life heroes are going to come around again. Or maybe not - what do people speculate the public might want to see? There may be an opportunity here for when we emerge into the light and mourn our losses.

    Just a few thoughts we could explore.

    2 weeks ago
  • Good posts from Cath and Paddy. I think we can be pretty sure that this virus thing is going to get a lot worse before it's done.

    My wife and I are supposed to be in the vulnerable hospitalization or death section of society. So trying to isolate as much as we can. Had to go shopping today, went to two supermarkets and the chemists. The ignorant behaviour of the folk about tells its own story. People just don't get it. They're not doing enough to prevent cross infection, they don't understand that we're just days behind Italy and Spain. For that matter neither do the government or it's agencies.

    It's Not just the TV film and events industry. A whole bunch of people and structures that are vital links in the chain that's our current economic and infrastructural system are likely to be seriously compromised. We're facing an existential crisis that will reveal that the politically constructed artificialallity of our society has only a weak basis in the physical reality we actually depend on. When we've counted the dead and noted the tumbleweed blowing through great chunks of our vital infrastructures, we might finally wake up and start to do things better.

    I don't think that the banality of unreality in film will be badly affected. People enjoy the distraction. Where we ought to get a big boost though is dramatic, compelling and entertaining documentary that exposes and explains how we've allowed such a bunch of dickheads to take control of us and the wider and historical context that led to it. Gonna be a lot of issues to talk about afterwards and a lot of strident opinion holders having to eat their words.

    Don't we get it yet? For the next few weeks everybody should do everything they can to avoid unnecessary interaction with other people. The financial collateral damage is nothing by comparison. This not about saving performers, producers and venues, as tragic as that is. It's about saving lives through the process called flattening and elongating the hump in order to hugely help the NHS and carers cope and thereby save lives.

    Once this has died down there's going to be a lot to answer for. Trump is likely to lose to Bernie Sanders and this Tory government will see out its term as a pariah. War time like socio-economic measures will be required to prevent fundamental detriment to the country, a sort of Marshall plan and the writing off of several types of debt. Wouldn't be surprised to have a second Brexit referendum either. We're an utter disgrace of parochial ignoramuses.

    2 weeks ago
    • Your entertaining documentary comment reminded me of "Threads", John. Not that that was a documentary per se, but the topic of how fragile society is in the face of panic is presented as if in retrospect.

      If anyone wants to be absolutely haunted in a way horror films don't, "Threads" was a low budget BBC 2-parter in the 80's right when it was incredibly likely we were all going to die in a nuclear war (likely enough that the government had commissioned public information films and booklets to be delivered to the entire country). It is one of the hardest watches you'll have this year/decade still, it is relentlessly bleak, but sure enough of course society can fall apart quickly. Maybe in a different way with a different cause, but it should be sobering to watch for anyone, there's enough overlap.

      2 weeks ago
  • I think I do remember Threads Paddy. Wasn't it the one where a fractious couple found a deserted and uncontaminated valley in Wales? It didn't end well. The young woman had to leave in the only radiation suit, dragging its heavy, small wheeled umbilically connected survival trolly over difficult ground. We didn't get to see if she found another uncontaminated valley as the end credits rolled over. It seemed unlikely. Hope you all can find your own uncontaminated spaces to ride this thing out in. Bit of luck and it'll all be over, bar the fighting, in time for summer.

    2 weeks ago
    • Not that one John, TBH you'd probably remember Threads if you'd watched it, very much steeped in realism, no incidental music, no sci-fi elements. You can find it various places online or DVD now, but be warned it is somewhat harrowing and unflinching.

      2 weeks ago
  • If you rent, worthwhile brushing up on the rules. It seems that the standard 4 weeks notice by landlord in most agreements isn't worth a damn and now it should be 8 weeks notice, even if you decide to stop paying, (because food more important), and 6 months is possible if you play hard (though clearly, no reference will be forthcoming). But do check your own situation. SHELTER seem the go to people for this.

    2 weeks ago
  • Dear all

    Thanks to many of you who have also been DM’ing us on Twitter. We’re sharing a lot on our twitter feed, but here’s some other key resources that have recently come in:

    @EquityUK has published information on how to understand your rights and the different kinds of financial support available:

    Pact has put together latest Covid-19 advice from broadcasters regarding productions:

    Scottish Shooters
    Good resource for creatives in Scotland from

    NY SP’ers
    A solid list of free resources and financial relief options available for artists across all disciplines: covid19freelanceartistresource.wordpress...

    Keep an eye on our twitter feed too @ShootingPeople

    Thanks to all who are DMing/sharing with us.


    2 weeks ago
  • Additional resources for those experiencing financial difficulty:

    Equity Charitable Trust (Actors)

    Actors Benevolent Fund (pls note: they’re asking people to think carefully before applying, and to check first that you are eligible to apply)

    Help for Musicians (musicians + music related roles)

    2 weeks ago
  • Dear all,
    Pls consider adding your name to this letter, calling on the govt for a Temporary Income Protection Fund for #freelancers.

    1 week ago
  • Dear all, particular freelancers,

    ***Ensure Your Voice is Heard ***
    Pls share and add your name to the
    @Creative_Fed petition calling for an immediate temporary income protection fund for freelancers.

    The creative industries are taking a hammering. The numbers of people signing will really help the lobbying that's happening right now.


    1 week ago
  • Dear all, The BFI and The Film and TV Charity have teamed up to set up a new Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund with £1m donation from Netflix to help support the creative community - they're currently working through their eligibility criteria:

    5 days ago
  • Arts Council England have made £160 million available as financial support to individuals and organisations making up the cultural sector which might be applicable to you:

    5 days ago